I am amazed how God has programmed our bodies to help us cope with tragedy. You often hear how someone that’s in a bad car accident doesn’t remember what happened, or how they pass out because of excruciating pain.
I believe God helped me through the first week after Brad died by putting me into shock. I didn’t know I was in shock at the time, all I know is somehow I was able perform the duties of seeing people and arranging for Brad’s memorial service.
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Sometimes I wonder how I got by those first few days after Brad died. I mostly stayed at home and going out only when necessary.
I had a lot of support from my family, his family and friends, but all I really wanted was to be alone. But then again, I didn’t want to be alone.
The morning he died, while his family was still here, his mom was laying next to him in the bed, holding him while she slept and I was sitting in the living room waiting for the funeral home to pick up Brad’s body. I was having a cup of coffee and looking at Facebook. Why was I on Facebook? I don’t know. I wasn’t feeling much of anything, I was numb.
I knew that Brad was gone and what was left in the bedroom was just a shell. That wasn’t my Brad, but just a shell.
It’s funny how you can sense that, just like when my father was in the hospital in a coma for 10 days, his body was still alive but after the 7th day, you could sense he wasn’t there anymore.
My sister-in-law and her family were sleeping in the family room and her husband said he saw Brad. He said Brad was just standing there watching them and when he called his name, Brad was gone! I do believe that when someone passes on they stay around for a few days.
Later that night, after everyone went home, I was alone for the first time in a long time. I was relieved to be alone so I can finally let go and cry, to be alone with my grief. We had 4 dogs at the time. We had two Cocker Spaniels, Angel and Winnie, Brad’s Boston Terrier, Molly, and Lulu, our new American Bulldog puppy.
All five of us made our way into the bedroom and I sunk into the bed, the same bed Brad passed away on. Somehow this was such a comfort to me. So thankful I was able to take him home instead of a hospice center. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Hugging his pillow, the tears started pouring, my grieving had begun. It wasn’t long, I cried myself to sleep until the dogs woke me up at about 2am. They were barking up a storm at absolutely nothing, just barking at the wall. This was very strange because the bedroom door was open and normally when they bark it’s because they hear something outside and would run out the doggy door. Not this time though, they were just barking at the wall. Then I thought that maybe it was Brad, maybe they were seeing him! Now normally I’m really chicken shit about this stuff but I didn’t feel afraid at all. It was comforting to me to think that Brad was still around.
I did alright the first week, it was like I was on auto-pilot. I got through the memorial service and the after service life celebration. I barely cried. When I think about that time, all I remember is walking around, hugging people and thanking them. Like I was just floating. I don’t really remember much of anything, not the conversations, nothing.
Later on it was explained to me that I was in shock. It wasn’t until the evening of the memorial service that I started to really feel again. Brad’s bestfriends, Frank and Sydney, invited me to come over to their home, where they were having a little gathering. As I was driving there, my insides started shaking and an overwhelming sense of feeling lost came over me.
Feeling lost was something that stayed with me for a long time. I made myself continue on though, and I’m glad I did because Frank and Sydney are wonderful people, they make me feel loved and valued. I wasn’t the only one grieving, they’re grieving too and we grieved together.
After that first week, I invited all my dogs to sleep in the bed with me and it helped a lot. Feeling another body next to you, even if its just a dog, was such a comfort. I cried a lot and when they would hear me cry they would snuggle closer, it’s like they knew I was grieving and they were comforting me.